The Friends of Israel in Action Sep/Oct 2023
Reading Paul with the Rabbi
From a rabbi dressed as Spider-Man to an Elvis impersonator at an Israeli wedding, some interesting characters have crossed Ty Perry’s path over the past eight years of ministry in the Jewish community. But he never thought he would meet a rabbi who leads a study of the New Testament—until he did.
As Field Ministries manager for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry (FOI), Ty always searches for ways to get involved in the Jewish community. One way he gets involved is by enrolling in classes on various aspects of Jewish culture and belief at his local Jewish Community Center. When he discovered that a Reform rabbi at the center was teaching a class on the apostle Paul’s epistles, Ty knew he had to join.
The class approached Paul’s letters to the churches from a theologically liberal perspective. The rabbi believes, for example, that Paul did not write 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, or Colossians. He taught that the church developed the doctrine of substitutionary atonement much later than the epistles and that Paul never taught it.
As a student, Ty tried to respect the teacher while also correcting some of the rabbi’s assumptions and theories about the New Testament. After correcting the rabbi on a doctrinal issue in the first class, Ty emailed him, thanking him for allowing him to attend the class. He explained that, though he disagrees with much of the rabbi’s theology, he enrolled in the class to learn, not to stir up trouble.
The rabbi responded warmly, thanking Ty for his comments and even his criticisms. He invited Ty to continue contributing to the class.
Throughout the duration of the class, the rabbi often asked Ty to explain Christian practices and how believers interpret certain verses in Paul’s epistles. In fact, on one occasion, Ty briefly taught about believer’s baptism by focusing on the accounts of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26–40) and the Philippian jailer (16:25–40).
Though Ty and the rabbi agreed on little of Paul’s doctrine, Ty appreciated his opportunity to take part in such a unique class. Not only did he learn more about how Jewish people might interpret the New Testament, but he also strengthened his faith by defending and teaching biblical truth.
“It was a great learning experience,” Ty said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have been accepted into the class and to share more about what I believe with the Jewish community.”
You can support Ty Perry and others like him serving in North American outreach with The Friends of Israel. Thank you for your prayers and financial support!
In Canada, please give here.
Giving Thanks in Wartime
More than a year has passed since the war in Ukraine began, and Russia has only increased its bombardments on western Ukrainian cities. Our Eastern European teams are facing immense challenges as they minister to those suffering in the war.
Throughout the entire conflict, our workers have consistently put themselves in harm’s way to show the love of Christ to Ukrainian communities; refugees; and those hit hardest by this conflict, both Jew and Gentile. Thank you to all of you who have prayed and supported the work of each of our field representatives in Eastern Europe, especially Tetiana Kritenko, our worker from Kyiv, Ukraine. Recently, she sent this note for our American supporters and ministry partners:
For me, one year has been like 10. Approximately 7 million Ukrainians now live abroad, most of them in Poland. We also have a huge-scale migration of people within Ukraine from the east to the west. Electricity and other utilities are subject to frequent outages and shutdowns. When items we need are available in stores, they are often so expensive that people cannot afford them.
When I asked a leader in the Jewish community in a small town near me what her people needed, she asked for carrots, onions, and beets. She hesitantly wondered about the possibility of getting the luxury of chocolate. It’s hard to believe. Ukraine has been the breadbasket of Europe forever, and now we can’t afford what little food we produce. I’m so grateful that through FOI we are able to meet some of these basic needs.
However, today I would like to share my gratitude for you and my FOI family, everyone who prayed and continues to pray. Ukrainians here don’t know all of you who donated and have helped us, but we are extremely grateful.
Thank you for bread and light (literally!) in Ukrainian homes and synagogues. Thank you for buses out of war zones and plane tickets to Israel for those who wished to immigrate. Thank you for the happy smiles of our children who have lived through these challenges. We have hundreds of reasons to say “thank you,” FOI family and ministry partners. We feel so much stronger because of you and your support.
We thank God for His protection and provision in Ukraine, and we thank you for your faithful prayers and support for our workers in Ukraine.
You can support our Eastern European teams and other FOI ministries like this around the world. Thank you for your prayers and financial support!
In Canada, please give here.
Photos: The Friends of Israel Archives